Cougars hockey teams both post split results against Thunderbirds

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Jane Kish led the way for the women in an exciting shootout victory

Both the men’s and women’s hockey teams were in action this weekend against UBC. The men were away in Vancouver, while the women took on the visitors at the Co-operators Centre. The hockey programs have mirrored seasons and face the same opponents week to week. The women headed into the home stand 1-3, while the Cougars men were 0-4. Both teams were able to pick up one win in split weekends.

The men opened up with a 2-1 win over the Thunderbirds on Friday, with goals courtesy of Tristan Frei and Arthur Miller. The Thunderbirds actually outshot the Cougars 38-23, but Brandon Holtby stood on his head for U of R, allowing only a single goal for the home team. The Cougars were also able to stay out of the box, which has plagued them thus far, taking only three penalties all of which they killed. They also went 1-4 (25 per cent) on the powerplay.

The next day went the other way for the Cougars. Shots once again favoured the Thunderbirds, but this time only 31-29. However, this time they were able to beat Holtby for four unanswered goals, after the Cougars’ Connor Odelein struck first. This early pressure is another place where the Cougars have been looking to improve. They scored first in both games this weekend, something they have failed to do yet this year.

On the women’s side things were the opposite. The visiting Cougars lost a close game 2-1. In this one, special teams were all the difference. All three goals were scored on a man advantage, but unfortunately, the opening goal by UBC was scored short-handed. Both teams played good defensive hockey, allowing only 13 and 14 shots against apiece.

Things opened up a lot in the game on Saturday. The Thunderbirds struck twice early to take a 2-0 lead, but Cougars Elise Endicott and Jordan Kulbida found the back of the net to tie it up in the third period. Jane Kish got her first start of the year in net and made 29 saves for the Cougars. It ended up coming down to a shootout and Jaycee Magwood and Jenna Merk got it done, winning the second game of the season. For Kish, the win in game two was a sweet but hard earned one.

“Overall I was happy we won. We came back from a 2-0 game to win in a shootout. I also think it was good for our rookie players to get a taste of what U-Sports overtime is like. They are learning how hard you need to battle every game to get the win.”

The Men will head to Calgary to face their eponymous rivals the Mount Royal Cougars, while the Cougar Women will come back home. For Kish, this will be a test of her team’s adaptability.

“There is a lot of learning we can take from the weekend and apply to our practices for MRU this weekend. MRU is doing well this year, so keeping up a high level of intensity this week will be crucial.”

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